A 15-year-old John Burroughs High School football player was recovering in a local hospital Monday for injuries he suffered after being punched by another teen after practice Saturday night, officials said.
Tyler Heffley, who was allegedly hit by a 15-year-old boy whose name was not immediately released, was listed in serious but stable condition Monday at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, Lt. Eduardo Ruiz said.
Tyler played wide receiver and defensive back on the freshman team last year, according to a 2011 football program.
Police said Tyler was punched in the face when he interceded in an argument between the suspect and another football player.
”The suspect had his right hand wrapped with a black boxing bandage as he had just left a local gym where he works out,” Ruiz said.
Early Monday afternoon, Burbank Unified Supt. Jan Britz said district officials were still investigating the suspect’s ties to the school. She could not confirm whether he was part of the school’s football team.
“We’re still investigating the situation,” she said.
Meanwhile, she said the district had increased the number of administrators who were working this week and changed their hours so that staff would be available during practice hours.
“This is a situation that is unusual,” Britz said. “When they do happen, we put everything in place.”
Head Football Coach Keith Knoop on Monday said he didn’t witness the incident and decline to comment.
Cheryl Holt, who was dropping her daughter off to see the end of the varsity football team’s practice at Memorial Field,
said she initially thought the group were just “goofing around or rough housing.”
When she realized it was getting more serious and that a fight was going to start, she began honking and shouting from her car. Then got out of her car and started shouting at the boys to stop.
That’s when she said she heard a loud crack as the suspect punched Tyler in the face and he fell to the cement.
A parent and two coaches attempted to stop the suspect who was trying to flee the scene on his bike, Holt said.
At one point, coaches had to sit on his arms and legs in order to detain him until police arrived, she said.
“It was the craziest thing I ever saw,” Holt said.
The suspect was arrested on suspicion of battery resulting in serious bodily injury and booked into the Burbank jail, police said. He was released to his parents pending a court hearing at a juvenile court in Pasadena.
Staff writer Jeff Tully contributed to this report.